New WS Series Digital Voice Recorders From Olympus - WS-811 - WS-812 - WS-813

In my last blog post I talked about some new innovative technology that Olympus have built into to their new range of WS series digital voice recorders which was announced in early January 2012 and on display on the Olympus stand at CES 2012 in San Francisco.

In this post we will look a little closer at the new three digital voice recorders (WS-811, WS-812 and WS-813), see how they are different from the models they will replace (WS-650S/WS-750M/WS-760M) and speculate on when we might see these in Australia. Gone finally is the trailing letter on the model of the recorders that we have seen for so many years where S used to denote Stereo and M was for music, now simply the series, WS, and the model number.

New Olympus WS Series Digital Voice Recorders

New Look

How Big Is Olympus WS Series? Here we see the WS-813 being held to give you an idea of its sizeAs is usual with a product range revamp we tend to see the same things improve. Firstly we have a new more modern look, the rounded edges, new look grills over the improved microphones. Olympus have done some work with the mics and are high sensitivity low noise, directional mics with a  high signal-to-noise ratio which ensures clear crisp and pure recording. We also see enlarged stop and record buttons for ease of use, not much of a big deal you may think but these recorders are really quite small so anything that helps locate the buttons you need quickly adds to the use experience.

PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) – Uncompressed WAV

Surprisingly we still don’t see PCM recording across the entire WS range, with only the WS-812 and WS-813 affording that luxury which for those of you not aware PCM recordings are equal to CD quality recordings (using the 44.1k/16bit PCM mode to uncompressed WAV). Don’t be swayed, the high quality MP3 and WMA recording modes on all three are still stunningly clear and you would need the hearing of a bat to tell the difference.

MicroSD Slot

Nice to see a microSD slot on each recorder allowing the already large in-built memory to be expanded. Remember these little devices also double as portable storage so not only can you record and keep your audio on them but any digital file – much like a memory stick.

New Olympus WS Series Condenser Microphone

Plug And Play – No Software Required – Mac Compatible

This is nothing new, for a fair few years now Olympus have been Mac compatible and for ease of use you require no software to access the audio, or any other files, you store on your WS series recorder. Simply walk up to any computer, Mac or PC, USB connect and the stored data is available. The USB connector is built into the recorder and slides out from the bottom when needed from just below the speaker grill. All three recorders can also double as an MP3 music player, pop in the supplied earbuds or your own headphones and listen to your music.

Only On The WS-812 and WS-813 …

The WS-811 has been by-passed with some features that will be key to a few like manual recording levels, all three recorders also have auto record levels. Voice playback feature which skips the silent parts of your recording during playback and only plays the recorded voices. Voice balancer technology boosts quieter voices and reduces loud voices to attempt a level range of spoken audio volume. A calendar search function has also been introduced to help you find audio on the a little easier (if you know the date they were recorded). Files can be moved between folders on the device.

When Will They Be Available In Australia?

Yes we are keen to get ahold of these little beauties too, I for one am looking forward to playing with the new voice playback and voice balancer features and putting them through some tests ready for a review. The rumour on the street is that the new WS series recorders will be available in Australia towards the end of March. No confirmation on price in AU (prices in Europe have been published) but I would expect them to come in around the same price as the current WS series range if not a little cheaper, just to put a bit more pressure on the competition.

 

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8 Responses to New Olympus WS Series Recorders For 2012 – WS-811/WS-812/WS-813

  1. Robert Kane says:

    Appreciate the report. I am looking for a digital voice recorder that works with Dragon Dictate on my Mac. Do these do it and do you have any recommendations/ Nuance is selling a voice recorder, but I can’t get a consistent answer to the question of whether it works on the Mac.

    thnx

  2. Dave says:

    Hello Robert

    Thanks for the dropping by and for your comment.

    Currently you are not able to use a digital voice recorder with Dragon Dictate 2.5 on the Mac. This differs from the Premium and Pro version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Windows where you can use both spoken voice and recorded voice. I do envisage Nuance releasing an update (I am hoping and fairly confident that it will be this year) that will allow this on the Mac also, but for now it is just spoken voice only.

    Saying that, there is a legacy product that Nuance acquired when they took over from MacSpeech, that product is called MacSpeech Scribe which will only transcribe your voice from a digital recording. However this is an old product and I have heard has many issues running with Lion. If you can I would hold off and hope the update for Dragon Dictate comes soon.

    I hope that helps.

    Dave
    Dictate

  3. nick says:

    hi there just got a ws-811 – Iam trying to set it to record automatic when to phone rings as iam using it if a line record to take (products sales) . How can I put it on automatic as can’t find away to do so. please help. Nic

  4. Dave says:

    Hello Nick

    I would try VCVA the variable voice activation function, then when the record hears audio it will automatically start recording. If you are not sure how to let me know and I will point you to the manual and the page you need.

    Thanks

    Dave
    Dictate

  5. Bjorn says:

    Hi Dave

    When using VCVA feature on a WS-813 – how long standy by time could I expect?
    Let’s say i’d like to keep the recorder on in a conference room for two days and there
    will be about 3-4 hours to record each day.

    Thanks
    Bjorn

  6. Dave says:

    Hello Bjorn

    Thank you for dropping by and for your comment.

    If you powered your WS-813 via USB you could leave it on the whole time, you don’t have to USB connect to your PC or Mac for this, any powered USB plug will work. For example I used the power blocks that come with the iPhone/iPad with the recorders also.

    If this is not an option it depends on the batteries you are using, either the rechargeable battery supplied or good quality, like Duracell, AAA batteries. It can also depend on the recording mode you have selected also. High bitrate mp3 recording you can expect 22 hours off a standard AAA and 18 hours off the rechargeable, that is full continuous recording. With VCVA on I would expect these times to be the maximums so if you can find a power outlet use that.

    I hope that helps.

    Dave
    Dictate Australia

  7. Kay Graham says:

    I am looking for a recording device for my son to use in some of his maths lectures at uni. The Olympus WS750M seemed to have great reviews but is no longer available. What do you recommend? WS-812?
    Appreciate any advice you can give.
    Thanks,
    Kay

  8. Dave says:

    Hello Kay

    The latest WS range is perfect for recording lectures at uni. The current range is WS-831/WS-832/WS-833, I would go the WS-832 out of the three. It has plenty of memory for recording audio but it can also double as a USB memory stick. Can also be expanded by adding a memory card, is Mac and Windows compatible, just plug and play. It’s small, records fantastic audio, runs for hours off one AAA battery, the list of positives goes on 🙂

    I hope that helps.

    Dave
    Dictate

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